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Aannsha’s Blog #67 – Baz held the nuts while I screwed!

Oh how long have I had to wait to be able to write that title! And while it could be seen as click bait, it is genuinely what happened last week on A B Sea. But it’s not as raunchy as it seems (sorry, no), but it was a very important task.

We were redeeming our Passerelle of Doom!

If you’ve watched our videos you may have noticed that where we’re moored in Kaş town harbour, the passerelle is at a fairly steep angle as the harbour wall is around 70cm (32 inches) above the swim platform of A B Sea. In marinas, passerelles generally sit flat, resting on the pontoons that are usually fairly flush with the backs of most yachts. However, in the town harbour, most of the boats moored here are large gulets for which the dock height isn’t a problem.

Problem with the passerelle

You’ll remember that a few weeks ago, I got rid of the slip problem with our aluminium gangplank. While it is ridged, when it’s been raining, at a 24 degree angle of dangle so to speak, unless you had shoe grips like Spiderman, you were likely to careen at a fast speed down onto the yacht. With the issue of the wobble that was making the walk feel more like a right angle romp up a seesaw, the whole thing felt like a death trap. Hence the name, Passerelle of Doom!

So last week, one of our boat chores was to fix the wobble. The passerelle has a little cylindrical stainless steel ‘foot’ that sits in a round stainless steel ‘shoe’ which in my mind isn’t the best design in the world, but it is the one we have.

We have two of these ‘shoes’ - stainless steel fittings on either side of the swim platform giving us a choice of where to fix the passerelle and Baz had to tighten both of them. Believe it or not, the one not in use was worse than the one. Anyway it meant that one of us (Baz) had to squeeze himself in the aft lazarette, between the rudder stock quadrant and the bulkhead and elongate his arm along a narrow fibreglass tunnel in order to get to grips with the nuts that were holding the bolts in place.

Where are the bolts?

This little job took quite a while as (a) we were filming the segment and (b) it was awkward. Essentially, once Baz had reached the bolts, my job was to sit on the swim platform, put a screwdriver into the screw head and hold it in place so Baz could apply Loctite glue and tighten the nuts. As I said, it sounds simple, but logistically it was difficult. It’s a good thing Baz was the one in the locker reaching because he has longer arms than I do and his patience stretches a lot further than mine.

A good while later both ‘shoes’ were secured and the passerelle was replaced. While Baz could only reach two of the three bolts in the starboard fitting, he did manage to tighten all three of the port side fitting, which is the one we tend to use. A short hop and a skip later and both Baz and I had danced up the re-seated passerelle which has far less of a wobble than before. As it is sitting on a round swivelling ‘foot’, it’s never going to be 100% movement free, but it’s now safe enough not to worry about guests coming on board.

Steady passerelle

Troubleshooting the Autopilot

Our autopilot has literally been on the blink for a while – its screen is failing and not all of the characters are visible. But that’s not the main issue. The last couple of times that we’ve had the autopilot engaged, it has decided to lock in very inopportune moments, such as the time that Baz was about to reverse moor into our harbour berth. Luckily he quickly told me to turn off the autopilot at the Nav station which gave Baz the unflappable captain back full control of the rudder. Accident averted but we don’t want to go on any long trips with a dicky autopilot.

Barry unscrewed the control from the helm which of course meant squeezing into another lazarette! This one was larger – lucky Baz – it did have far more stuff to remove (okay the other locker contained our heavy dive tanks and lead) – this one contained cleaning buckets and brushes, lines, flares and the life raft to name a few items. Once all of these things were stored on the port cockpit seats, Baz got on with removing the autopilot.

What comes out of one lazarette

Job done, he took it down below and opened it up with the help of a manual he’d downloaded from the internet. Everything seemed okay so he put it back together and reinstalled it. Fingers crossed. Sadly the issues were the same and some of the autopilot buttons didn’t work properly.

I could see how disappointed he was. I was too – it’s another cost to factor in. Fortunately we may be able to get a second hand unit that should do the job, and as soon as we have concrete information on that, I’ll let you know.

Killing Diesel Bugs

If you don’t fill your fuel tank then condensation forms in the air space. The water pools and drops down below the diesel (being more dense than the fuel) and in the meeting place between the two liquids, organisms called diesel bugs grow. These clog up your engine and can be a real problem. What’s the solution? Diesel Bug Juice – a chemical concoction that you can pour into your fuel tank and it not only kills the little bugs, but it also kills fungus and keeps the engine ticking over like a cat purring after a feed of fresh fish.

diesel bug juice

After troubleshooting the autopilot, Baz added diesel bug juice to the fuel tank (in the proportion of 25ml juice to every 25L of fuel). The hardest thing about this job was filling the little compartment in the bottle and then pouring it out into the tank! But soon enough the job was done and all we had to do was kick off our shoes, pour out a beer and enjoy the last of the afternoon’s sun.

Not a bad day’s work. Three jobs completed and lots of footage for YouTube.

Starboard lazarette big enough for all sorts!

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